A report finds loneliness and isolation are the biggest problems facing refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland.

According to the third annual report by the Vincentian Refugee Centre in Dublin, the biggest problem facing refugees and asylum seekers coming to Ireland is loneliness and isolation.

The Vincentian Refugee Centre is Ireland's longest established day centre for refugees, asylum seekers and people with permission to remain in Ireland. In 2001, 909 people registered with the centre the highest number coming from Nigeria and Romania. Of these, 150 were separated children, mainly teenagers who travelled to Ireland on their own.

Ahmed Ali fled the war in Somalia when he was 16 years old and has just completed his Leaving Certificate. Eventually he would like to study medicine but in the short term,

I would just like to get on with my life.

From its base at St Peter's Church in Phibsboro, the Vincentian Refugee Centre helps people find accommodation and runs an outreach programme to help them forge links with the wider community.
Social worker with the Vincentian Refugee Centre Sister Breege Keenan notes the loneliness and isolation experienced by refugees often stems from language and cultural barriers,

Simple little things that we take for granted like getting on the bus.

The Vincentian Refugee Centre report calls for a greater effort to help refugees and asylum seekers integrate into Irish society.

An RTÉ News reporter broadcast on 24 June 2002. The reporter is Bethan Kilfoil.